Children’s author Donna McDine is familiar with the “downside” of being a work-from-home writer. Today, she takes a few moments to share her thoughts on this unique employment environment. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a review of her latest book The Golden Pathway. And there just might be something special in store for that as well….
THE BRICK AND HOPEFULLY CRUMBLING WALL
OF PARENTING AND WRITING
Donna M. McDine
You dream of the days of no commute to a 9-5 job and you finally give your writing aspirations the chance that they deserve. You have stocked your office or any small writing space that you designate in your home with all the essentials; computer, paper, pens, pencils, books and research resources, etc. However, the responsibilities of mother seem to intrude every moment of the day.
Now that you are home, everyone thinks that you are accessible all day long. The kids feel that since you are home that you aren’t “really working”. You’re not sure when it happened, but responsibilities that were normally delegated, somehow have become all your responsibility. A writer’s life can easily become frustrated when the creative juices are without fail interrupted by the most mundane questions or needs. You know how that goes. Cleaning the sticky keyboard. Mom where are my soccer cleats? What is there to eat? Can you put the movie in for me? The list is endless. When did my family become so helpless?
We all love our families, but how does one carve out that special and much desired writing time without the feeling of neglect on the family? It is important to reset boundaries as quickly as they disappear. Let your family know that writing is indeed work, but also a passion that you want to achieve. Teach your children the importance of uninterrupted writing time and that they will get your undivided attention once your writing session is completed. Hopefully they will come to understand that what is important to you should be respected. Just as you respect what is important to them.
Although there will be times and sometimes it will feel like many, where interruptions are a necessity. Such as, when the school nurse calls to say that you need to pick up your child that has a fever. Like any mother, we quickly grab our car keys and head to the school. If you attempt to balance your writing and the care of your sick little one it will tend to leave you both feeling frustrated and neglected. At this point, you are much better accepting the fact that your child needs you and that your writing can wait for another time. Even if that deadline is on the horizon, you will not do your best work, just leave it.
Grab any time thrown your way, especially when the little ones are asleep. When the house and telephone are quiet it tends to be a great time for creativity. These little pockets of time may not feel like much, but the time over a week to a month will accumulate and you can get quite a bit accomplished.
Keep a handy pocket notebook with you at all times, you never know when your next inspiration will come to mind. It could happen anywhere, such as that crowded doctors office you just brought your sick child to. Like anything in this life, this too shall pass, but we hope not too fast, since they do grow up quickly.
Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications and her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Her second book, The Hockey Agony is under contract and will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes, moms and is the Publicist Intern for The National Writing for Children Center and Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Musing Our Children.
Thanks for hosting, Donna today. This book is wonderful. I’m thrilled to be able to help Donna promote it.
Comment by ccgevry | September 20, 2010 | Reply
Thank you for your kind words of support. I’ve been having a blast on the VBT. Thanks!
Comment by Donna McDine | September 20, 2010 | Reply
Thank you for hosting me today, I’m excited to be here today.
I hope you are feeling better each day.
Comment by Donna McDine | September 20, 2010 | Reply
I am glad to be a part of your tour, Donna. My sons and I really enjoyed the book.
Comment by Lynn McMonigal | September 20, 2010 | Reply
I’m thrilled to hear you all enjoyed it!
Comment by Donna McDine | September 20, 2010
This topic is close and dear to my heart. I teach full-time and must always find time to write. It is certainly a huge challenge for me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very important aspect of a writer’s life.
Ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day to all that needs to be done? If you are a parent, an employer, an employee, a student, or even just a human, you probably feel that way at least once a week! Around here, that has been the norm for the summer.
In June, I had some unexpected surgery. Well, it was expected. Only it was expected to happen at the end of the summer. Knowing the surgery was coming, I had a list of things I planned to accomplish this summer. The biggest things on my list were outlining three novels that I have had in mind for some time now and organizing a clothing closet the women at my church are starting in August. Then my symptoms got worse and the surgery was moved up.
I was supposed to take six weeks off of work. Where the clothing closet was concerned, that made sense to me. I mean, my mid-section had just been cut open and a portion of my anatomy removed. Lifting boxes was not something that I wanted to do. But I thought that writing would be acceptable. It’s not a physically taxing thing. Mentally draining at times, perhaps. I understood my inability to write while I was taking the pain meds. Those things dulled the pain, but also made my brain feel rather fuzzy. I didn’t expect to be able to write much with my head feeling that way.
But even now, six weeks post-op and 4 weeks after I quite taking any pain meds, I am having trouble concentrating. Have I dulled it too much with the silly little Facebook games I’ve been playing? Are there really no more tales for me to tell, no more stories for me to write?